Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Discussion of poems 6/21: Windhover, Words under Words, Rereading Frost

Reading Gerald Manley Hopkins is a pleasure for the tongue exploring the range of the bocal cavity. Why is The Windhover such a great poem? One could do worse with the opening lines:
triple "m" leading to the "m" of kingdom on the second line which introduces a double triple "d" - dom/daylight's dauphin and dapple-dawn-drawn... dawn referred to in three ways -- and since the poem is addressed "To Christ Our Lord" , the Trinity is not far behind.
I CAUGHT this morning morning’s minion, king-
dom of daylight’s dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon

the trinity only resumes at the end with the g's of gall/gash/gold.
gall themselves, and gash gold-vermillion. a true sacrifice.

we discussed at length the last stanza.
No wonder of it: shéer plód makes plough down sillion
Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear,
Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermillion.

I brought in the idea from "Elegance of the Hedgehog" that "true art is emotion without desire". There is no desire here -- only a feeling, a doubling hovering of such great power --
sh/pl, bl/ l's gathering force to furrow sillion, to gash vermillion. The energy of the poem is akin to the idea of making raku pottery -- the ecstasy of firing a pot without knowing how it will turn out.

For Words under Words... each stanza sketches a different aspect of the grandmother...
particularly poignant to me is an old women, so glad for mail, even though she cannot read it, but has the message read to her -- and what do we put in our mailboxes?
Do we know the spaces the ones dear to us travel through? This women becomes quite complex,
and full of wisdom -- nothing surprises her, and her peace is inspiring. "Answer, if you hear the words under the words-- / otherwise it is just a world with a lot of rough edges,/ difficult to get through, and out pockets full of stones.".

We admired "November" by Robert Frost. Armistice month... the repeat of "down" and "waste"
coupled with falling leaves.

and Linda Pastan: Rereading Frost -- the problem -- haven't all the best poems been written?
And yet, the sentences cannot be contained in the stanzas, and the poem picked is "I have been one acquainted with the night". How what counts is the sharing of the words -- the thrill of seeing how well a poet can bell the words.

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